Jul 22, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

Computer Science, PhD

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The PhD Program

The Computer Science PhD Program prepares students for research careers in the software industry and in academia. It combines a commitment to theory with significant experience in software development. The areas in which students may carry out dissertation research are currently programming languages, databases, digital typography, neural networks, computer architecture, computer networks, and operating systems.

Degree Requirements

The program requires 48 credits of course work, a minimum of 15 credits of dissertation research, at least one year of full-time status, several examinations, and a doctoral dissertation containing original results. A GPA of 3.5 must be maintained at all times.

Several courses in theory (CS 720  and CS 724 ) and software development (CS 680 , CS 681 , CS 682 , CS 683 ) are required.

Other requirements include the following:

A. After 30 credits of graduate work have been completed

After 30 credits of graduate work have been completed, each candidate takes a written examination to verify the breadth of his or her knowledge. The examination covers theoretical computer science and two of the following three areas:

  • Programming Languages
  • Databases
  • Systems

Candidates who leave the program after passing the written exam will be awarded a master’s degree in computer science if their course work satisfies the requirements specified for the MS degree in computer science.

B. After 48 credits of graduate work have been completed

After 48 credits of graduate work have been completed, and after passing the oral qualifying examination, each candidate presents a dissertation proposal to the thesis committee. This proposal must be presented within one year of passing the oral qualifying examination. The thesis committee may accept or reject the proposal.

Both the written and oral examinations may be retaken once.

The Major Advisor and the Thesis Committee

Every incoming PhD student will have a temporary advisor appointed by the department, until a major advisor is appointed. When a candidate has found a faculty member with whom to work, the faculty member (referred to as the major advisor) applies to the computer science graduate faculty for permission to direct the dissertation. The selection of the major advisor must take place no later than the semester when the student intends to take the oral examination. The major advisor is appointed by the graduate program director after approval by a meeting of the computer science graduate faculty. The major advisor is then responsible for monitoring the candidate’s progress. After the candidate passes the oral qualifying examination, the major advisor will propose a dissertation committee. This committee is appointed immediately after the student passes the oral qualifying examination. The program must be completed in seven years.

Admission Requirements

Please see the general statement of admission requirements for all graduate studies programs in the “Admissions ” section of this publication. All applicants for the PhD program must have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in computer science and must present scores for the general Graduate Record Examination. Applicants from countries where English is not the primary language must submit TOEFL scores. The department reviews applications and recommends candidates to the dean of graduate studies for admission to the PhD program.

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